The Viral Factor (BLU-RAY)

The Viral Factor

On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Running Time: 
122 minutes
Bonus Features

Making of and Cast & Crew Interviews

Tasked with getting a man who has the knowledge of creating a mutated form of the smallpox out of Jordan to Norway, International Security Affairs agent Jon's (played by Jay Chou) team is ambushed and betrayed by fellow agent Sean (played by Andy On). Most of of team killed in the ambush, including his ex-fiancée, Jon barely survives the attack with a bullet stuck in his head. Now with only two weeks left to live Jon wants to mend broken relationships with his father and brother that he hasn't seen since being very young. While trying to connect with his long lost father, Jon finds out that his brother Man Yeung (played by Nicholas Tse) is a wanted criminal that is working with a man that wants to use the mutated virus on the world.

Let me start this with talking about what drove me bonkers while watching The Viral Factor, the languages. That's right, plural, languages, not just one but 2 were spoken in this, Chinese and English. When it starts off I'm thinking I'm going to be reading the subtitles through the whole movie but then out of nowhere I'm hearing English. Through this whole movie I never knew what language was going to be spoken nor at what moment it was going to be used. There was way too many times that I had to rewind The Viral Factor because I missed a subtitle because out of nowhere English was being spoken then back into Chinese. Now in a movie with not much going on in it I wouldn't have cared much about this, not enough to make it in a review, and definitely not enough to make it be the first topic in the review. What makes The Viral Factor different is that there is so much going on in the movie, from the continuous action to the intertwining plot lines, I just found it too much to try to keep up with the reading, the listening, and working out what was going on during the scene.

With that said I know it sounds like I didn't like the movie but I did enjoy it, even with all it's language problems. The Viral Factor is non-stop action from the start to the end that has a simple plot that has been made into one of substance. This is not just about the release of a mutated virus, there's also this mystery of a dream the main character has, there's the characters of the two brothers, and the story of a cop having to deal with his lost brother being a most wanted criminal. With all that's going on it would have been easy to have one topic overshadow another or having one forgotten but all the topics have some closure by the end of the movie.

It felt like the flow of the movie was pushing me where I needed to go with what was happening. Everything that was happening in the plot all has some sort of connection that leads Jon into his next reaction. At times these seemingly random connections felt a little forced to have them work out but they wasn’t so far fetched that I was thinking there would be no way that could ever happen.
What I got from this movie was that it's what action films are supposed to be about, lots of explosions, lots of shooting, lots of running, and a plot that tries to be compelling but falls to the sideline because of the action. One element missing from The Viral Factor is a leading female role. Sure there's the doctor who is kidnapped to work on the virus but she is barely in the movie and her part isn't that important. There's also Jon's girlfriend or ex-fiancee, not sure which really, that was killed at the beginning he never seemed to hurt by the loss and she's only in it for a few minutes. The Viral Factor was fun because there's a lot of action in it, it has a semi-interesting plot, but for being a guy movie it left out one of the most important aspects to guy movies, the female character.

The Viral Factor wasn't that impressive on Blu Ray. In fact I think it would have looked the same if it were on DVD. As soon as the movie starts I was able to see all the noise and grain in the picture. It's clearly seen during the brighter scenes but when there is any sort of dark or blacks being used in the scene then the noise in the picture looks like it has some static in it. Still, there are times that the scenes where in very clear, sharp detail that showed that this was what a Blu Ray can look like. Not the most impressive Blu Ray that's been made but it's not the worst one either.


Lee Roberts
Review by Lee Roberts
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